Thoughts Re: “Beware the Batman”

julio 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm (Animation) (, , , , , , )

17

You know, given my burnout on Batman, I wasn’t all that hyped up about the third cartoon series in ten years. While the hype indicated that this one, at least, reflected some unconventional choices—Katana as a regular character, loads of emphasis on Alfred as a former spy-master, new takes on E-list villains—still, it’s Batman.

Well, two episodes in, and I’m interested. There’s plenty of room for polish—the latest episode, for example–but the way the show is building up its overarching stories and characters is currently reminding me a lot of Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated—I understand both shows share a producer–and that can only be a good thing.

 

  • I’m unsure what to make of Magpie’s design. While I have no problem with “sexy” costumes when they make sense for the character involved, I’m not sure this particular one passes this particular test. Sure, there’s a lot of Catwoman in Magpie, and Selina was always one of those characters partly defined by their sexuality, but just like it annoys me when Ms. Kyle’s zipper is left open to her navel, I feel there’s a space between “sexy” and “bustier and kinky boots”. It feels like an unwelcome encroachment of an unwanted design element into a realm where it’d previously held little influence.
  • Given my continuing frustrations with he latest TMNT‘s lack of female characters, the fact that the second episode of the show features four different women playing different roles within it makes me supremely happy. It doesn’t pass the Bedchel Test, sadly, and my gut tells me that such prominence will prove an outlier (although three of the four women are coded as “recurring”, so who knows) but still, it’s nice to see.
  • On that note, Barbara looks adorable.
  • Also like TMNT, Batman has that CGI-show problem of looking like it’s taking place in an empty city. It’s slightly better than TMNT is, but only just. Here’s hoping it doesn’t limit this show like it does that one.
  • As someone who’s put in a lot of thought into the concept and history of gun censorship in cartoons—I’m a frequent contributor at TVTropes’ “Family Friendly Firearms” page—I was quite interested on what approach the creators would take after the Aurora massacre convinced them to tweak their firearm designs to be less realistic. And this one is particularly interesting, because you can sort of tell what the original weapons were supposed to look like.  In any case, the weapons have altered in a way that doesn’t annoy me too much–a couple in the first episode are given weird un-weaponlike colors, but they still work.
  • There’s a weird dissonance when it comes to the way Batman’s acting. There’s a certain callousness to his actions that feels at odds with his level of experience. Like, it feels to me that earlier Batman should be a kinder gentler, Batman, yet this version is putting people into comas, electrocuting them, and telling them it’s their own fault when they agree to become subjects of unethical experiments—as if coercion weren’t a possibility.
  • Professor. Pyg and Mr. Toad, from the first episode, have been turned into eco-terrorists. While it kinda works, I also kinda wish they’d taken a different approach when reimagining the characters. I’m tired of seeing the only people concerned with the environment being either terrorists or jokes.

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